Blogs

Engaging in an Unlikely Manner: Artists as Environmental Stewards

From Eileen Cunniffe, writing for Nonprofit Quarterly:

“If you actually engage a place in an unlikely manner, you probably won’t forget it. It becomes yours.” So says Catherine Gudis, a professor of public history at the University of California, Riverside, and one of the founders of Play the LA River, described as a “game of urban exploration and imagination.” The game consists of a 51-card deck developed by members of Project 51, a collective of “LA River–loving artists, designers, planners, writers and educators,” that invites Angelenos to explore — and reclaim — a river that for decades was “a polluted, concrete-encased ditch,” as reported in Next City.
Building Community Through Innovation in the Arts

An extraordinary new report Building Community Through Innovation in the Arts, written by Brett Sokol and creative directed by Gavin Strumpman, has come from the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation:

[U]sing initiatives like the Knight Arts Challenge to identify and empower new groups of entrepreneurially spirited artists and creative leaders has been key to transforming communities through the arts. True, some of those fresh faces will hardly fit the mold of traditional nonprofit administrators. This is exactly the point, given that much of the traditional arts establishment remains in crisis with its audience share waning.
State of the Arts in Mississippi

In February, Carlton Turner, executive director of Alternate ROOTS, addressed the National Theater Project on the subject of racial equity in the arts:

This is not an issue that can be fixed with a grant program or a new funding initiative. It cannot be solved with a few discipline-specific conversations on diversity. It can only be solved when a critical mass of our sector feels that this issue is important enough to shift our missions.
Foundations Fall Short in Giving Grantees Advice on Evaluations, Says Report

From Alex Daniels, writing for The Chronicle of Philanthropy:

Two-thirds of nonprofits don’t get guidance from grant makers about how to use data to measure their performance, even though most foundation support comes with a demand that grantees evaluate their work, according to a report released Monday. Almost all of the 138 nonprofits surveyed by the Center for Effective Philanthropy collected information to gauge their performance. But 64 percent of the organizations said they did not receive any support from foundations on how to marshal the data they amass.
New from the GIA Reader: Seeing Beyond, Activating Ourselves

Featured in the current Reader, excerpts from a presentation on activating public space that Roberta Uno delivered at the Creative Time Summit.

Arts & Cultural Practitioners Call for Solutions to Data Challenges in New CDP Report

The Cultural Data Project has released a new report, Bridging the Capacity Gap: Cultural Practitioners’ Perspectives on Data, which shares findings from five town hall meetings conducted as part of its ongoing conversation with cultural practitioners about how data can be used to improve the health and effectiveness of the arts and cultural sector.

Why Nonprofit Fundraisers Should Give More Attention to Gen X Donors

The Nonprofit Tech for Good website has gathered up some research on Generation X:

There is a lot of discussion in the nonprofit sector about Millennials (a.k.a. Gen Y) and Baby Boomers and a growing interest in Gen Z a.k.a. #Philanthrokids, but almost no analysis of Generation X (aged 35-50 years). As the first generation to donate online and the generation that pioneered web design, email, blogging, and online advocacy, ignoring Gen X is a big mistake. As Gen X rebounds from the Great Recession, Gen Xers are entering their peak giving years and nonprofit fundraisers would be wise to pay more attention to how they give and why.
On the Art of Change

From the closing plenary of the Skoll World Forum, Darren Walker, president of the Ford Foundation, spoke about The Art of Change, a new initiative that will examine the roles art and culture play in illuminating and addressing urgent issues of equity, opportunity, and justice:

This is a problem not limited to art and artists. It reveals and reinforces a societal illness — a perversion and distortion. With increasing regularity, we prioritize short-term gain over long-term good. This kind of short-termism has infected so many dimensions of our lives. Education. Health care. Development. Business. Government. It has disrupted the way our society makes decisions.
New from the Reader: US Cultural Engagement with Global Muslim Communities

Featured in the current Reader, an article by Jennifer C. Lena and Erin F. Johnston examines cultural engagement with global Muslim communities.

Wallace Foundation Announces $52 Million Audience Building Initiative

Twenty-six performing arts institutions from across the U.S. have been selected to take part in The Wallace Foundation’s Building Audiences for Sustainability effort — a new, six-year, $52-million initiative aimed at developing practical insights into how arts organizations can successfully expand their audiences, the foundation has announced.